Emergency Caller Location Information

This page provides details of the Emergency Caller Location Information (ECLI) Service, how it works, how your privacy is protected and who to contact.

About the ECLI Service

The ECLI Service enables 111 emergency call takers to receive automatically generated geographical information about the likely location of a caller when a 111 call is made from a mobile device on a cellular network.

The Location Area Service (LAS) system turns that data into information about your mobile device’s likely location.

Authorised emergency service providers — New Zealand Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, St John and Wellington Free Ambulance — are allowed to use this location information to help them verify where you are calling from, so they can respond to the emergency as quickly as possible.

Download the Infographic – how the Emergency Caller Location Information system works [PDF, 1 MB] 

Who contributes to the ECLI Service

The ECLI Service is a collaboration between:

  • our Ministry
  • emergency service providers (New Zealand Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, St John and Wellington Free Ambulance)
  • mobile network operators (2 degrees, Spark and Vodafone).

Each agency has a role in the system:

  • we have responsibility for the Government’s Communication Portfolio and, as part of this, we oversee the operation of the LAS system which receives and processes Emergency Caller Location Information
  • the emergency service providers receive the location information and use it to verify a caller’s location
  • the mobile network operators provide network cell-site data.

Many other countries can already identify the location of emergency callers using network-based services.

New Zealand was the first country outside of Europe to go live with Google’s Android Emergency Location service nationally and one of the first to go live with AML for Apple’s iOS. Similar implementations are available to countries including the United Kingdom, Estonia, Austria, Lithuania, and Dubai.

Benefits of the ECLI Service

The ECLI Service improves public safety and potentially save lives. It does this by:

  • decreasing the time taken to accept and verify the location of 111 mobile callers
  • reducing the average dispatch time for emergency events from mobile phones.

Each year, there are more than 2 million calls to emergency services. In 2016, more than 80% of calls to 111 were made from a mobile phone. In the same year the New Zealand Police recorded over 8100 incidents where they had to make a special information request to a network provider for a caller’s location. The ECLI Service helps to reduce this figure by providing automatic access to location information about emergency callers.

Emergency callers are still required to state their address or location to the 111 operator as a first priority and the system does not replace this need.

Previously, where people weren’t able to give an accurate address, emergency services experienced real difficulty pinpointing a caller’s location and in some cases were required to make a special information request to a network provider for a caller’s location.

ECLI supports 111 TXT

In 2018, the ECLI Service was extended to incorporate location data sent by a registered 111 TXT user texting 111 on an Android phone. The 111 TXT service is for people who are deaf or hearing or speech impaired.

www.police.govt.nz/111-txt(external link)

Protecting your privacy

The ECLI Service is designed with controls to protect the privacy of mobile callers.

The Privacy Commissioner has authorised the Emergency Caller Location Information system via an amendment to the Telecommunications Information Privacy Code 2003.(external link) This amendment includes the addition of Schedule 4 to the Code which defines the boundaries and controls on the system's use.

Emergency Caller Location Information will only be collected and used for:

  • the primary purpose of helping emergency service providers identify the location of callers to 111 emergency call takers so they can respond to the caller’s request for help
  • the secondary purpose of allowing emergency service providers to maintain records of the Emergency Caller Location Information used or help us to monitor and audit the LAS system.

Location data is only held to facilitate these 2 purposes, after which it is automatically deleted.

The dispatch systems used by the emergency service providers will include Emergency Caller Location Information data as part of the record of the call. Those records are retained by the emergency service providers for the period defined in their standard data retention policies.

Accuracy of ECLI

The level of location accuracy depends on a number of factors such as the type of mobile phone and the location source available.

A precise location solution is available on Android and iOS smartphones. Location data is provided by Google’s Android Emergency Location service and Apple’s Advanced Mobile Location for iOS, which uses GPS, Wi-Fi or cell-site information to define the location of the handset. If a device is able to connect to GNSS satellite constellations (such as the GPS), the information can be as accurate as 2 metres. Wi-Fi can be as accurate as 15 metres.

For all mobile devices, the mobile network operator will provide location information via the nearest cell tower to the caller. The accuracy of this information depends on whether the caller is in an urban, sub-urban or rural area and is in the range of several hundred metres to a few kilometres.

The system doesn't replace the need for emergency callers to state their address or location to the 111 operator but is intended to provide an additional way to help call takers verify the mobile phone caller’s location.

If you’re dialling 111 from an Android or iOS smartphone, your handset will automatically turn on location services when the 111 call is made. This allows the LAS system to receive your location data and pass it on to the emergency service provider. Location services on your phone will return to their previous state once the 111 call ends and the location data is sent.

Accessing or correcting information held by the ECLI Service

You can request access to the record of your 111 call from the emergency service providers at the links listed below:

How to make a complaint

Contact your mobile network operator for any complaints relating to your mobile service:

Contact emergency service providers for any complaints relating to their services at these links:

 

Contact us

Email us at info@mbie.govt.nz for any general complaints about the Emergency Caller Location Information system.